After years of work, APELC was pleased to receive our ISO 9001:2015 certification in the Fall of 2020. Here’s a little bit of background on what that means for our company and our customers moving forward.
WHAT IS ISO 9001:2015?
ISO 9001:2015 is a quality management standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The standard outlines systems that provide consistency in the quality of products and customer service generated by a company, regardless of its size or the type of products/services it provides.
Learn more at: https://www.iso.org/standard/62085.html
WHY DID APELC CHOOSE TO IMPLEMENT ISO 9001:2015?
Over the course of the last 20 years, APELC has transitioned from being a small pulsed power company focused primarily on compact Marx generators, to an engineering and manufacturing enterprise with a suite of pulsed power and high-voltage products backed by a production-level CNC manufacturing arm. During this period of growth, we realized that while we were very good at designing and manufacturing pulsed power systems, that we needed an additional level of quality management to better meet the requirements of our customers, be capable of maintaining quality with quantity in our CNC shop, and to ensure a higher standard for all of our products and services. This allows us to not only produce our own products at a higher level of quality (and at higher quantities), but also to be an ISO 9001 certified shop where customers like the Department of Energy or Department of Defense can bring their own designs for manufacturing and testing by a team who can provide full lifecycle support. In short, not only can we build it- we understand how it is supposed to work and can make sure it does once it’s built.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR CUSTOMERS?
Achieving ISO 9001:2015 does not just mean that the parts coming out of our machine shop will be of the highest quality and always adhere to specifications, it also means that we have a quality management system in place to ensure that our documentation, customer service, and product support achieve an extremely high standard. This is accomplished starting with an overarching “Quality Policy” which can be found at: https://apelc.com/quality-policy/. From this policy, APELC developed objectives and then systems which were eventually outlined in our Quality Manual. The key quality objectives for our company as they pertain to our customers are:
- Customer Satisfaction
- Quality Product
- Quality Documentation
- Quality Support
- On Time Delivery
Each of these objectives is “owned” by a member of the management team who are charged with overseeing the implementation of programs to meet these objectives, recording the metrics that demonstrate achievement of these goals, and reporting regularly on the status of these programs/metrics. In a more down-to-Earth sense, we want a customer to always get a product at the best price that meets all of their requirements, operates without failure- and in the event of a failure or issue, the customer has immediate access to someone who can correct their issue in a short amount of time. Moreover, this system ensures that when components reach the end of their lifetime and need replacement, that thorough documentation and management systems yield an exact replacement that can either be pulled off of the shelf, or made from the correct drawing with absolute assurance that the resulting part matches the original design.
WHAT DO THESE CHANGES LOOK LIKE AT APELC?
We’re not going to lie- at one time APELC was a small team of engineers and technicians who might have left a messy work bench at the end of the day in the pursuit of the perfect waveform. While that pursuit still exists, we now do it with carefully labeled and organized inventory, clean work spaces, tight safety protocols, thorough documentation, and a part inspection area that looks like this:
Yes, we’ve definitely matured as a company, but we also have made sure to maintain the agility and out-of-the-box thinking that have made us who we are today.